An Examination of Nonverbal Cues Used By University Professors When Delivering Instruction in a Two-Way Video Classroom

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Virginia Tech

As the education field further embraces technology and the classroom develops a distance component, more and more colleges and universities are delivering classes via two-way video. Research has established that nonverbal cues exist and play a significant role in classroom instruction (Arnold & Roach, 1989; Cyrs, Conway, Shonk, & Jones, 1997; Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968). The growing popularity of two-way video and the fundamental concepts of communication, establishes a parallel between traditional classroom and two-way video instruction delivery. This parallel and the established effect that nonverbal cues have on instructional delivery support the need to study nonverbal communication in a two-way video classroom.

Descriptive observation of six instructors, each teaching five 50-minute lectures, produced the data for this preliminary study. The nonverbal cues were recorded using the Two-way Video Nonverbal Cue Observation Instrument (TV-NCOI). The TV-NCOI consisted of seven nonverbal communication categories and 22 variables used to identify and quantify professor's nonverbal cue use in two-way video instructional delivery.

Frequency response, common themes, and nonverbal cue delivery observations, collected by the TV-NCOI, were used to answer the research questions; what nonverbal cues are used by university professors when delivering instruction in a two-way video classroom? The results suggest that professors in engineering and chemistry, the two focused disciplines, heavily used nonverbal cues when delivering instruction in a two-way video classroom. However, the majority of these cues have a technical delivery base. The traditional classroom nonverbal cues of board pointing, material pointing, and accent gestures are delivered via computer cursor, two-way video camera, and software applications in the two-way video classroom. More specifically, 87% on the nonverbal cues used in instructional delivery had a technological connection and only 13% of the nonverbal cues used were without a technical delivery base.

distance education, instructional delivery, Technology, nonverbal communication, two-way video